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Survey: 42% of American teenagers feel anxious when away from their cell phones

Have you ever been struck with a sinking feeling when you realize that you left your cell phone at home?

While research has found that we’re so attached to our phones, we emotionally connect to them, recent data from Pew Research Center shows that 42% of American teenagers report feeling “anxious” when they’re away from their cell phones.

Pew also found that 54% of teenagers and 36% of parents overall think they “spend too much time on their cellphone,” showing that we might just have a smartphone obsession after all.

Here’s how teens feel when away from their cell phones

While 25% of American teenagers say that they feel “lonely” when they don’t have their cell phones on them, 24% say they feel “upset.” But on the other end of the spectrum, 17% say they feel “relieved” and 17% say they feel “happy.” Still, 28% said that they don’t feel any of these things. Respondents could pick more than one option.

In terms of how people interact with their phones, 44% of teenagers and 26% of parents say that they “often” look at their phone to see “messages as soon as they wake up,” while 28% of teenagers and 32% of parents say that they do this “sometimes.” The research found that 8% of teenagers say they “often” “lose focus in class” because they’re looking at their phones, 23% say they “sometimes” do. But 28% say that they “rarely” do this and 38% say this “never” happens to them.

Eighteen percent of teenagers say that they “often” feel like “they have to respond to messages from other people immediately,” while 40% say they “sometimes” feel like this, 25% “rarely” do and 14% “never” feel this way.

Here’s how much time teenagers spend looking at screens

Here’s how teens weighed in — interestingly enough, a slim number of them said that they should be spending more time on social media platforms:

  • “On their cellphone:” 54% spend “too much time,” 35% spend “about the right time” and 8% spend “too little time”
  • “On social media:” 41% spend “too much time,” 43% spend “about the right time” and 13% spend “too little time”
  • “Playing video games:” 26% spend “too much time,” 41% spend “about the right time” and 22% spend “too little time”

Lastly, 52% of teenagers said that they have “cut back on” their cell phone usage before, while 57% have done this for social media and 58% have done this for video games.

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